Amistad Basketball – Week 1

Well, we struck new Ground at Amistad this past week with the commencement of our first freshman team.   This is a huge development for the Amistad Basketball Program, as any high school head coach knows that the development of the sub-varsity teams within your program is the only way that a high school sports program can have success year in and year out. That is – unless you recruit other programs’ players like many schools in New Haven do.

I’d prefer to develop players, as I believe that that is the true calibrator of success for any high school head coach.  I believe that it is not what you got – but rather what you get out of what you got.  And more importantly, my priority as a head coach in service to my players is to prepare them for the next 4 years of their lives AFTER high school basketball is over– not just for the upcoming season.  This is part of the reason that we mandate a 90 minute study hall after school for all basketball players at Amistad.
This being our 3rd year of existence as a high school Varsity Program with CIAC affiliation, I am proud to say that each of our seniors is on pace to graduate, all will be attending college, and 6 of our players are being actively recruited to play college basketball at various levels.  It also goes without saying that from going winless in our inaugural season to now, I am very proud of the development of Amistad’s Basketball Program as we enter our 3rd season together.
However, we’ve had to deal with quite a few challenges due to the advent of the Freshman Program this season.  Due to the fact that there is no gym at Amistad High School, our players have to take the same bus to get dropped off at two different gym locations after school in order to practice every day.
Unfortunately, the gym times are the same for both the Varsity and Freshman Teams, so I won’t get the chance to see the Freshman Practice all season.  But we decided as a program that rather than leave them to go off on their own, the Varsity Team would spend the first week of the pre-season practicing with the Freshmen in order to teach them the drills and the skills that we work on day to day at the Varsity Level.
This meant compromising the scrimmage and game readiness of the Varsity team in the first few weeks, but after seeing all the kids in one gym, and the Varsity leading the Freshman through the drills and teaching the Freshmen what the expectations for players in our program are – there is no doubt that it did not set us back one bit as a Basketball Program.  What we sacrificed in x’ and o’s and team offense and team defense – we made up for in with teamwork and program unity.
With “Team Communication” being a vital aspect to our programs core development this season – the coaches agreed to remain silent throughout a 15 minute segment of practice while we gave one of our Varsity Captains a whistle and let him teach the 11 Man Break to the Freshman Team while we all practiced together.  That alone was very rewarding to watch and be a part of.
Our first Varsity scrimmage was against Branford on Saturday. As one of the most disciplined teams year in and year out in the SCC, they looked good.  We had a few good moments here and there.  But there is much work to do.  Every night after the first week of practice, I have to remind myself of one thing: The Season is a Marathon.  And the Goal is to peak in March!
Next Game: AMISTAD at Cheshire Academy Wed., 12/7 at Cheshire Academy, 6:00 PM
Should be fun!

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